US government bottles on Open Government

The former British Colony of Virginia, which revolted against its lawful government and formed a French-backed junta, appears to have given up on the idea of Open Government.

The junta, run by a president, made a big splash a while ago claiming it was going to use the world wide wibble to let the great unwashed know what was really going on in their undemocratic nation.

It seems that in the wake of Libya, Syria, and Egypt, the American government has worked out that  “letting people know what was happening” is a jolly bad idea and most of the initiatives are set to be turned off by May 31.

Open government initiatives appear to be fated to be killed off quietly by the sorts of bureaucrats who are not that interested in making their doings public.

The Office of Management and Budget is planning to take seven websites off-line in two months because of a lack of funding.

Funding will begin to run out on April 20 for public sites IT Dashboard, Data.gov and paymentaccuracy.gov. Internal government sites, including Performance.gov, FedSpace and many of the efforts related the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort are also having their plugs pulled.

USASpending.gov and Apps.gov/now, will run through July 30 but will shut down after that.

Officials say that it will cost $4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year, and keeping the great unwashed informed about government wastage is not a priority.

It is hardly the President’s fault. He wanted $35 million for the e-government fund in 2011 and got $2 million while the Senate, provided $20 million for the e-government fund. However it looks like this will fall to just a couple of million dollars.

However there is some criticism that the government is being shortsighted. Historically IT Dashboard is credited with saving the government $3 billion on IT projects.

Generally it is the case of regimes with oppressive governments, that it is best that the great unwashed do not realise how money is spent. Particularly since many politicians would prefer that links between big business, government, and politicians were not known. If it were found out that all the revolution did was hand over power to a small number of multi-nationals who rule through political sock-puppets to soak up lucrative government contracts, it might make claims that they really are in the Land of the Fee seem hollow.